Crime spree in Ordway sparks community concern
A crime spree in Ordway is sparking concern among the community.
There have been several burglaries and robberies in the past couple months.
"It's higher than usual," said Crowley County Sheriff Miles Clark.
The most recent burglary was at the Ordway Senior Citizens Center. Thieves came in through a bathroom window, kicked open a locked door and broke into a locker that had five 1903 Springfield rifles, said Steve Camacho, commander of the American Legion Post 94.
The American Legion leases out space to meet there once a month. Camacho said they use the room to store their ceremonial equipment, including the rifles, flags and bugle.
"These rifles are just used for ceremonial purposes. They will shoot a live round. If these rifles get into the wrong hands, it could be dangerous," said Camacho.
The Veterans of Foreign Wars was also burglarized. The crooks tore through the roof to get inside and stole a safe, said Richard Gray, commander of the VFW Post 336.
"They took a safe that didn't have anything except receipts. It was about 65 pounds. They left it out in a field," said Gray.
This was the third burglary in three years at the VFW, according to Gray.
"It makes me feel real bad we can't catch them," he said.
The grocery store, pharmacy and other businesses have also been targeted. KJ Foods Etc has posted a list of places who have fallen victim to crime on its door.
Camacho and other community members believe the spike in crime is due in part to a lack of law enforcement.
In August, Ordway lost its local police force. The Crowley County Sheriff's Office has since taken over jurisdiction.
"They're not patrolling the streets. Whose ever commiting these crimes has seen this and it doesn't take a rocket scientist," said Camacho.
The sheriff's office has 6 full-time deputies and one part-time deputy for four towns; Sugar City, Olney Springs, Crowley, and Ordway. The county is about 300 square miles.
Sheriff Clark said the increase in crime is two-fold.
"Part of it is economic times. People don't have extra cash. Some of it is just crimes of opportunity," said Clark.
He said the staffing is adequate, though he could always use more deputies, and that it's more of trying to set up an improved patrol schedule to cover more hours of the night.
"We have 24 hours coverage during the week now. We are on 10 hour shifts now," said Clark.
He said the county is also putting in security cameras along Main Street and is trying to reactivate neighborhood watch programs.
Mayor Kelli Joe Rusher said the Crowley County Sheriff's office been provided law enforcement service since mid-July.
At that time, the town marshal was placed on administration leave to investigate allegations against him. He was suspended with pay until Oct. 1, said Rusher.
A deputy who worked in the office was on medical leave.
The marshal's office was shut down because of the town's budget crisis, said Rusher.
Rusher said a final draft agreement between Ordway and the sheriff's office is being completed.
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